The world’s false religions and cults have many similarities, and one common thread among them all is their disbelief / distrust / disdain for the Bible.
And among these groups, five stand out as surprising when you consider that they believe themselves to be Christian, and as everybody knows, “Christians” believe the Bible . . . don’t they?
Whether it’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses who discourage individual understanding of the Scriptures . . .
Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind.
The Watchtower / October 1, 1967 / Page 587
. . . even going so far as to employ scare tactics that you’ll become apostate for reading the Bible on your own or in a small group:
They say that it is sufficient to read the bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago…
The Watchtower / August 15, 1981/Pages 28-29
Or whether it’s the Mormons spreading their seeds of doubt . . .
It was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.
Joseph Smith /Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith /Page 10
. . . and blatantly attacking the Word of God:
This congregation heard brother O. Pratt scan the validity of the Bible, and I thought by the time he got through, that you would scarcely think a Bible worth picking up and carrying home, should you find one in the streets.
Brigham Young / Journal of Discourses / Volume 3 Page 116
Or whether it’s the liberal churches who “take the Bible seriously but not literally.”
Or whether it’s the Emergents whose greatest “virtue” is ambiguity, and whose mantra is “did God really say that?” all the while dismissing the importance of the very Bible they claim to believe:
This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true. In reaction to abuses by the church, a group of believers during a time called the Reformation claimed that we only need the authority of the Bible. But the problem is that we got the Bible from the church voting on what the Bible even is… When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true.
Rob Bell / Velvet Elvis / Pages 67-68
I grew up thinking that we’ve figured out the Bible, that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel like life is big again—like life used to be black and white, and now it’s in color.
Kristen Bell (Rob Bell’s wife) / Christianity Today / November 2004
Or whether it’s the Roman Catholic Church who in times past would burn you at the stake for merely possessing the Scriptures in your native tongue, but who now settle for pompously looking down their noses at you for daring to hold God’s inspired, infallible Word above that of their fallible, uninspired popes, priests, and man-made traditions.
So, whether you’re discouraged from reading your Bible, or the Bible is impugned so that you conclude it can’t be trusted, the desired result is always the same: Once you put down the word of God, or place some other “authority” above it, heresy will always follow.
As Gary Gilley aptly said in his book This Little Church Went to Market:
Today, virtually every heresy found in the Christian ranks can be traced back to some form of rejection of the Bible as God’s final authority. It may be pragmatism (which adds success to the Bible); mysticism (which adds experience); tradition (which adds the past): legalism (which adds man’s rules); or philosophy such as psychology (which adds man’s wisdom). The end result is all the same: the Word of God takes a back seat to the inventions and imaginations of men.
Essentially, all these false religions and cults have one goal in mind: To get you to stop trusting the words of the living God and instead, put your trust in their organization. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and we will trust His word over the lies, rumors, heresies, doubts, and traditions of these false organizations. But what about you? When the question of the authority of Scripture comes up are you going to believe the empty words of false prophets, teachers, popes, and organizations, or the words of God Himself?
For the most part these counterfeit groups would agree that God created the heavens and the earth and that He is the architect of everything from the vastness of the galaxies yet to be discovered by man, to the tiniest microorganisms that are more complex than any supercomputers that we could ever build. And with few exceptions I’m confident that these groups also believe that God sustains His creation and that He’s omnipotent, omniscient, and all powerful.
Yet ironically they do not believe He had or has the power to sustain and preserve His word from generation to generation. How convenient for them that the God of all creation has this one weakness (that their popes, prophets, and programs can help God out with).
God was very clear about the tenacity of His Word: It is forever settled in Heaven (Psalm 119:89), it endures forever (Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:25), the smallest letter or stroke of the law shall not pass (Matthew 5:18), and Heaven and earth will pass away before His word does (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 16:17, Luke 21:33).
Yet the false prophets will have you believe that the sovereign God who created and sustains the universe simply could not ensure the preservation of His own Word, but their “new revelation” on the other hand, is accurate and can be trusted in spite of the fact that their doctrines keep being added to, subtracted from, and changing from prophet to prophet, from leader to leader, and from pope to pope.
The Scriptures are for our instruction and to provide hope (Romans 15:4), for teaching (Deuteronomy 11:9, 2 Chronicles 17:9), for equipping Christians for good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and it gives us assurance of salvation (1 John 5:13).
Furthermore, God’s Word is more precious than silver and gold (Psalm 119:72), it’s a lamp, a light, and the way of life (Proverbs 6:23), it’s a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105), it teaches us to fear the Lord (Deuteronomy 17:19), it purifies (Psalm 119:9), it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130), it teaches us so that we can walk in His paths (Isaiah 2:3), it sanctifies (John 17:17, Ephesians 5:26), it testifies to Jesus Christ (John 5:39), it leads us to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24), and it judges our thoughts and attitudes (Hebrews 4:12).
When you consider what God’s Word does, you can see why false religions and cults wish to separate you from it! If they can drive a wedge between you and the word of God, then they will have successfully separated you from the only source by which to measure truth. Then you are easy prey for their new revelations, their other gospels (Galatians 1:6-9), and their false christs.
So, I have three questions:
1. The Bereans were commended for searching the Scriptures to assure that what the Apostle Paul was teaching was accurate (Acts 17:11). Why are these false religions and cults advising you not to take up the Scriptures to see if what they’re teaching is true?
2.The Apostle Paul told us that our struggle is against spiritual powers and forces of wickedness (Ephesians 6:11-12) and in this fight he tells us to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13), in which one of these is the sword of the Spirit–the very word of God. Why would false religions and cults want to disarm you from one of the best offensive and defensive weapons God has provided the Believer and instructed him to wield?
3. Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the Disciples read the Scriptures and quoted from them regularly. In fact, when Satan tried to thwart Jesus’ mission on earth by twisting Scripture, Jesus quoted from the Scripture each time in rebuttal, effectively disarming the father of lies with the words of truth (Matthew 4:1-11). If the Scriptures were good enough and valuable enough for Jesus Christ and the Apostles, why do the false religions and cults say that they’re not good enough for you?
For all the reasons above it is apparent why false religions and cults reject the Bible and the idea of Sola Scriptura. When those groups claiming to be “Christian” are compared to the Light of the Scriptures they always come up short and their errors, falsehoods, heresies, and soul-damning doctrines of demons are exposed. If they can get you to doubt the Bible, they will quickly fill that void with their own “authority.”
Remember, we were never told that man shall live on the Church, the prophets, or popes, but we are told that man shall live on “every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8:31-32
For more on the Bible see : Bible Reference Notes – The Holy Scriptures